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Incentives for Diversification and the Structure of the Conglomerate Firm

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  • William J. Marshall
  • Jess B. Yawitz
  • Edward Greenberg

Abstract

In this paper, we examine the proposition that both the structures of conglomerate firms and their merger activities evidence a systematic attempt to diversify income sources and reduce the volatility of firms' profits. We test whether firms that are active in one line of business are more likely to be involved in another, the lower is the correlation between returns to the two activities, and whether, ceteris paribus, the likelihood of merger depends inversely on the correlation of cash flows to the principal activities of thecandidates for merger. We conclude that firms do act as if their goals include firm-level diversification.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1280.

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Date of creation: Feb 1984
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Publication status: published as Marshall, William J. , Jess B. Yawitz and Edward Greenberg. "Incentives for Diversification and the Structure of the Conglomerate Firm." Southern Economic Journal, Vol. 51, No. 1, (July 1984), pp. 1-23.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1280

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  1. Ross, Stephen A, 1978. "The Current Status of the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM)," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 33(3), pages 885-901, June.
  2. Alchian, Armen A & Demsetz, Harold, 1972. "Production , Information Costs, and Economic Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 777-95, December.
  3. Grabowski, Henry G & Mueller, Dennis C, 1972. "Managerial and Stockholder Welfare Models of Firm Expenditures," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 54(1), pages 9-24, February.
  4. Eugene F. Fama, 1972. "Perfect Competition and Optimal Production Decisions under Uncertainty," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 3(2), pages 509-530, Autumn.
  5. Ross, Stephen A, 1973. "The Economic Theory of Agency: The Principal's Problem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(2), pages 134-39, May.
  6. Lemelin, Andre, 1982. "Relatedness in the Patterns of Interindustry Diversification," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(4), pages 646-57, November.
  7. Heckerman, Donald G., 1975. "Motivating managers to make investment decisions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 273-292, September.
  8. Maloney, Michael T & McCormick, Robert E, 1983. "A Theory of Cost and Intermittent Production," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(2), pages 139-53, April.
  9. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
  10. Michael C. Jensen & John B. Long Jr., 1972. "Corporate Investment under Uncertainty and Pareto Optimality in the Capital Markets," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 3(1), pages 151-174, Spring.
  11. Galai, Dan & Masulis, Ronald W., 1976. "The option pricing model and the risk factor of stock," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(1-2), pages 53-81.
  12. Steven Shavell, 1979. "Risk Sharing and Incentives in the Principal and Agent Relationship," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 55-73, Spring.
  13. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1979. "Optimal incentive contracts with imperfect information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 231-259, April.
  14. Baron, David P, 1979. "Investment Policy, Optimality, and the Mean-Variance Model: Review Article," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 34(1), pages 207-32, March.
  15. Greenberg, Edward & Marshall, William J & Yawitz, Jess B, 1978. "The Technology of Risk and Return," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(3), pages 241-51, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Hermalin, Benjamin E. & Katz, Michael L., 1994. "Corporate Diversification and Agency," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3568z5kq, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  2. Mantell, Edmund H., 1998. "The effect on firm output after its acquisition by a pure conglomerate," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 487-501, September.

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